Trinity Term Research Seminars & Public Lecture


Seminars from 2.30 to 4.00pm

Public lecture on 26th June from 5.30 to 7.00pm

Refreshments available 30 minutes prior to start time

All welcome

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The seminars give scholars and graduate students a chance to present their in-progress research.

Time is allocated for asking questions and sharing comments.

You can download the seminar programme by simply clicking the button or you can browse all the titles and abstracts below.



Does the Anglican Church have a Theology of Religious Pluralism?


The Second Vatican Council addressed Nostra Aetate to the subject of the relationship between Christianity and the world faiths, based on a detailed theological response from Karl Rahner, which was broadly understood as Catholic Inclusivism. In 1977 the World Council of Churches published ‘Guidelines on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths’, which also considered the Exclusivist theological response of Karl Barth and John Hick’s Pluralism. What was the Church of England’s response? Can it be understood within a particular theological framework? What were the ‘inter-faith issues’ which were raised for the National Church at this time? Revd Dr Tess Kuin Lawton will explore these issues using a close analysis of official documents and debates during a critical period of inter-faith awareness in the Church of England from 1966-1998, drawing conclusions for the Anglican approach to mission and diversity in the 21st century.
Do Muslims and Christians Worship the same God? problems and promises of Miroslav Volf's views from a Reformed Christian Perspective

Miroslav Volf's book, Allah: A Christian Response argues that Christians and Muslims believe in and worship the same God, a claim that has generated both praise and scorn at the popular and academic levels. While I admire Volf's attempt, I will be arguing that his book over-focuses on the immanent concepts of doctrine and practice in answering the same-God question, leaving the place of God's transcendent action almost entirely untouched. To correct this, I will be drawing from the reformed tradition of Christianity stretching through Augustine, Calvin, and Bavink to articulate a relationship between God's transcendent action and immanent concepts of doctrine and practice. I will then situate Islam therein to argue with Bruce McCormack that the same-God thesis is not something Christians should normatively believe, but it is something that they may hope.
"God is the light of the heavens and the earth" (Qur'an 24:35): Textual, exegetical and interreligious points on the Qur'anic concept of light (nūr)


As indicated in the title, this presentation will have three focal points. Firstly, the Qur’anic concept of nῡr (light) will be examined in different Qur’anic passages, with particular attention on Q.24.35. In the second section, select Muslim commentaries on Q.24.35 will be presented, showing some of the diversity in Muslim interpretations reflective of the different religious viewpoints of the exegetes. Thereafter, Q.24.35-38 will be read, using intra-Qur’anic language-analysis and based on the Qur’anic view of Maryam (Mary) and ꜤĪsa (Jesus), as possible references to Jesus, Mary and Christian monks. The presentation will close with comparative points on how Q.24.35-36 may have been engaging with Biblical texts such as Zechariah 4.1-3, 11-14; and John 8.12; 9.5.
Interrogating the Christian-Muslim Conundrum in Boko Haram's Terrorist Campaign


Nigeria with its neighbouring countries (Chad, Cameroon, and Niger) has endured a near decade (2009-till date) terrorist attacks from Boko Haram. Boko Haram is a Salafi-Jihadi group fighting to uproot Nigeria’s secular government and instate a full sharia state. Its attacks, threats and rhetoric have also been directed at international targets and symbols including its 2011 attack on the United Nations’ building in Abuja, several kidnap of foreign nationals and affiliation with other transnational terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS). Since 2009, Boko Haram’s terrorist campaign has led to the death of over 20 thousand people and the displacement of over 3 million. Yet, despite its stated goal, there is very little understanding of the group’s motivation. One of the many theoretical explanations for the group’s behaviour is its anti-Western and anti-Christian disposition. For many years, especially in the early years of the terrorist campaign, churches and Christians were indiscriminately targeted by Boko Haram. However, while there remains sustained attacks on churches and Christians, the roughly equal amount of (or even more) attacks on mosques and Muslims challenges the anti-Christian narrative. It is therefore crucial to interrogate the lingering Christian-Muslim question in Boko Haram’s terrorist campaign. Is there a chance that Boko Haram’s attacks on churches and Christians are fortuitous? Are the attacks on Christians and churches distraction from Boko Haram’s original objective? Why is Boko Haram attacking mosques and Muslims? Is Boko Haram’s anti-Christian narrative justifiable? This paper attempts to answer all these questions. Keywords: Boko Haram, Christian, Muslim, Nigeria, terrorist, sharia
British Muslims: new directions in Islamic thought, creativity and activism


In this lecture, the authors of British Muslims, New Directions in Islamic Thought, Creativity and Activism - two academics, one a Muslim, the other Christian - will explain why they decided to co-write their new book which explores what it means to be a Muslim in Britain today. In particular, they will touch on and illustrate the main themes of the book, namely how a new generation of Muslims are drawing on contemporary reformist thinking emerging from outside their parents' or grandparents' tradition and are using this to inform their activism. This new thinking "positive yet not without candour or self-criticism" is traced as it impacts and shapes the burgeoning field of Muslim women's activism, the formation of religious leaders, what counts as Muslim politics, the dynamics of de-radicalisation and what has been dubbed the New "Muslim Cool" in music, fashion and culture.